REVIEW: The Last Guardian - PS4
Updated: Aug 22, 2020
The classic story of boy meets bird-dog
A game that features a giant dog like creature that you can ride around on? Of course I’m going to play it! I have well and truly fallen in love with my new pet bird-dog Trico and in this review I’m going to share what it’s like to own such a beast.
I won’t lie, unless it’s Kingdom Hearts I’m always late on game hypes, I’ll always see adverts and trailers floating around online but it usually takes me a few weeks/months before I get curious enough to look more into them. The Last Guardian is no exception to this, I believe it was released around December of last year and it wasn’t until May of this year that I decided to look into it and pick up a copy. This is due to University work finishing in May and me having more time to play new games.
As I mentioned, I was drawn to this game because of the giant adorable animal. Upon watching a trailer I then realised that it was a 3D, puzzle, platformer game – 3 of my most played genres in video games so I had to give it a go. Once I had played the game though, I realised that it was unlike anything I had ever played before! It became apparent to me very early on that you actually only play as one character and Trico is there to assist you but he is completely his own character – which is a blessing and a curse, more on that later.
Let’s start with the features and elements that I was pleased with. Firstly; Trico reminded me a lot of my own dog, Which isn’t a big deal to some but it meant that I got attached to Trico easily and I became more invested in the game. For those of you who don’t know, there is in fact a petting option. You can and sometimes have to give Trico a stroke and you bet I made full use of that feature. He also interacted and moved exactly how a dog would – again this isn’t a big deal to some but as an ex-animation student it was nice to see the clear reference taken for the animal. Trico whines, he headbutts for attention, he sniffs the air, he even doggie paddles! Trico can also be seen tripping over things, becoming startled and not quite reaching the jump he was aiming for which again, makes him all that more realistic. The same could be said for the boy, he often scrambled, tripped and skid if you ran too fast or suddenly changed direction. He even limps if he falls from a great height and his voice changes in each situation – meaning it was quiet during sentimental scenes and panicked during intense ones. The game itself felt like a cinematic event, everything was grand with stunning features and amazing depth. I’m not even afraid of heights but even I got a little nervous looking over the edge of buildings, it’s seriously an experience in itself! Just to note; the game is in fact entirely in another language, it may be Japanese, it may be its own language – it’s never actually mentioned but seeing as the studio that developed it are Japanese, it’s most likely Japanese dialogue with English subtitles.
However like with everything, there were faults. Faults that I had heard from other people before buying a copy of the game, however these faults are a pretty minor inconvenience and shouldn’t effect whether or not you decide to buy this game. The problem I heard the most from other people was the camera, it got stuck a couple of times, for example the boy will be clinging onto Trico and Trico would be standing next to a wall so I’d want to turn the camera around to face the front of Trico and it wouldn’t pass the wall, just repeatedly snap back and forth until you moved it another way. I also sometimes found myself looking INSIDE of Trico! The camera would get stuck inside of his 3D model and you’d just get a screen full of grey and feathers, but as I said it wasn’t that often that it became infuriating. Another thing that became a little frustrating after a while was the instructions… oh wait, there wasn’t any! I’m ashamed but I’ll admit it; I had to look up a walkthrough a couple of times simply because there usually wasn’t any indication or prompt on what to do next, it was one of those times where you have no idea what you have to do next, so you look it up and once you’re aware of what to do it’s embarrassingly obvious. The worst one was if you struck out – instead of hitting a button that says continue or try again a bunch of symbols appeared all over the screen. I realised that it wanted you to almost button mash all of the buttons and that continued the game, it was a little confusing at first as I had never seen this in a game before. The lack of combat also became frustrating. You rely on Trico to fight most threats and although you had small ways to help Trico, you were pretty useless when it came to boss battles. Back to how I mentioned Trico being his own character – this frustrated a lot of people but I’m a little on the fence about it. You see, Trico does what Trico wants. You sometimes have to command him several times before he does what is asked of him, sometimes he does the wrong thing or he’ll do it then suddenly stop doing it which doesn’t give you enough time to do the thing you want. It can become a big ball of frustration and sometimes even cause rage quitting. I’ll admit, it was frustrating however it gave him charm, he acted like a real animal that sometimes listens, sometimes ignores you entirely. I’m sure all pet owners out there can relate. This did however make it all the more rewarding when he did the correct command – I may have found myself saying “good boy!” out loud towards the tv a few times.
So then, if you’re a fan of puzzle 3D platformers or even just a fan of dogs, I can’t recommend this game enough. It really keeps your focus and leaves you wanting more – the game left so many questions unanswered but didn’t leave the player disappointed. Although it wasn’t always clear at times, the game has a good narrative and fun gameplay! Be aware though, you and Trico find yourself in plenty of sticky situations which (if you’re a baby like me) can make you panic about what’s going to happen to your feathery friend, he’s really easy to become attached to! Also make sure you wait until after the credits once completing this game for an after credits scene.
For more from me, see what else I have to offer here on Nerd Out Word Out as well as my own blog hopeelizab.co.uk.